College freshman orientation – What to expect

Before you begin your exciting first year at college, you’ll be invited to attend a freshman orientation during the summer, where you can become more familiar with what it means to live at and attend your new college.

For many students, going to college for an orientation program is a huge thing. If you’re debating whether or not to attend it, you definitely should as it’s a great source of any information that you need. So let’s look a little better at College Freshman Orientation and what to expect.

Every school’s freshman orientation program is different, but here are some things to expect:

  1. A long speech. The school will likely give an introductory speech from some esteemed member of the staff.
  2. Information about requirements. You’ll probably be given information about general ed and/or major requirements to help you pick your classes.
  3. Dorm information. My freshman orientation didn’t do this (and I wish it had), but your school might show you in a few of the dorms and talk about them. Some orientation programs have you stay the night in the dorm to get a feel for it.
  4. Stuff for parents. The school is going to try to persuade your parents that their money is well-spent and that you’re going to be safe. If the orientation program keeps you there with your parents, be ready for a long talk about the school’s boasting points and the like.
  5. Tour of the campus. Another thing I didn’t have, but I know some schools do. They might take you around and show you more about the school. You might find out more about what the cafeterias are like, you might find out where the library is, and so forth. The school wants to start introducing you to where you’re going to be living.

Do I need to go to freshman orientation?

For many students, however, attending freshman orientation is a huge inconvenience. For starters, it can be pretty expensive — I know my freshman orientation costs around $300 for myself and my parents to attend, and that’s not including travel costs, such as food and hotels.

For others, the distance might be a big factor — if your college is a ten-hour drive, then attending freshman orientation will take a lot of effort. You’ve just finished your last year in high school and maybe you’re busy the day of orientation. And, perhaps, you’re just not interested. There are lots of reasons why you would consider missing orientation.

First and foremost, find out what’s going on at orientation. Many colleges do the same thing at freshman orientation, but you never know for sure. Make sure that nothing’s going on that you can’t afford to miss. If you’re at all unsure, send an e-mail to your college to become certain. This is just one tip, but there are so many tips listed on this website. Just check it out and benefit!

Talk to your parents as well. Just because you’re not too interested in going doesn’t mean they aren’t. Here’s a little secret: freshman orientation is mostly for the parents, but you get dragged along too. While you may not care about what’s going on, your parents might. Orientation answers a lot of questions parents will have.

Going to orientation may offer perks to students who attend. For example, I was able to sign up for classes sooner than students who didn’t attend, and I got out of a few of the mandatory meetings at the beginning of the year.

Attending freshman orientation also gives a preview of what it’s like to meet people in college. Again, sending an e-mail to your college or talking to a student who attends the school already will provide you with more information.

Chances are you don’t need to go to orientation. To be honest, I didn’t need to attend mine, beyond signing up for classes, though I still really enjoyed the experience.

Enroll in classes as soon as possible

The first chance you get to do this, do it. Each school handles signing up for classes differently. Some schools let you sign up at freshman orientation, others give you a day and any point after that is fair game. As soon as you can, enroll. At my orientation, it was first-come-first-serve based on when you had your orientation.

You’ll be surprised how many different types of classes there are in college so get used to the idea that there is no such thing as uniformity of college classes. So the sooner you enroll in classes, the more you’ll get used to that.

I was fortunate enough to get an early orientation date, which meant that I had the first pick of classes. I got in line as fast as I could to try to get what I could, and most I got while there were only a few openings left later. Most of my first choices were full within a week. I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer.

Get used to meeting new people

Unless you’re going to a school where you already know a ton of people, you’re going to be starting fresh next year. At freshman orientation, get used to extending yourself and introducing yourself. If you’re normally a pretty shy person, now is as good of a time as any to start becoming outgoing.

Strike up a conversation about anything — ask where someone is from, ask what their major is, where they might be living next year, whether they tried to get accepted in a top Texas college, talk about the orientation program, etc. If you’re single, maybe even flirt around a bit.

Most people are in the same boat as you and don’t know anyone there. Even if you’re not starting a deep friendship, it’s good to at least meet some people and get used to that. If you’re going to a large school, chances are you’ll never see the people again, but that doesn’t make it a waste of time. Try to ready yourself for the change.

Check out the surrounding area

If you haven’t seen much of the town already, try taking a drive around it. You’ll obviously find out way more about it when you’re there next year, but you might as well try to get oriented while you can. Get an idea of where things are and try to find some interesting spots in town to check out later on.

Ask any questions you have

Lastly, if you’re unsure about your major, where you’ll live, the general ed requirements of the school, transportation, or just anything, now’s the time to ask. If the college orientation is put on by students, consider asking them because their advice is more firsthand than the staff’s advice will be. This is a great time to get questions out of the way. Write them down if you think you’ll forget.

To be honest, I found orientation a little dull. There was some good information that they gave, but most of it I had heard before. To me, the best part was meeting new people, but each person will have their own experience. I would definitely recommend going to your freshman orientation if possible, though. You never know what your school will do.

Last Updated on September 12, 2020